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INTRODUCTORY  ESSAI".                                  25

form, is often the only guide we have to their origin. To us
it appears that but one legitimate conclusion may be drawn
from the facts ; and that, taking the broadest view of the case,
while it is difficult, on the one hand, to reconcile the acknow-
ledged tendency of varieties and hybrids to revert to their
original state, with the fact that the floras of .remote areas,
possessing similar climates, are permanently and prominently
different in their main elements; on the other, it is equally
remarkable tha± the majority of the plants found wild or
cultivated in all climates, are not specifically changed by any j
and this, whether they are of species that have been thus
widely spread for ages, or such as have been introduced by
man in later times.
In the Botanical Gardens at Calcutta many thousands of
plants from all parts of ihe world have been' cultivated with
more or less success, and some have become denizens of the
Soil ; but in no instance has such a change of character been
produced as could justify the suspicion that specific marks
migTvfc be obliterated by even such violent contrasts of climate
as Calcutta and Australia, or Calcutta and the Cape of Good
Hope, afford. On the contrary, the seedlings seem infallibly
to resemble their parents for generation after generation, al-
tered perhaps in size, and more frequently in habit, and ac-
commodutiug themselves to the seasons of India, but remain-
ing true to their botanical characters.
With regard -to the specific eftebts of climate on -plants,
tl»«y arc extremely .difficult of appreciation, the observer sel-
dom having tlje opportunity of becoming, familiar with the
same species under very different climatic influences, at one
and the same time. This is, however, a.i essential point, for
nothing is so fallacious as recollections of the habit and ge-
neral appearance even of very familiar plants. We have oxxif-
selvcs repeatedly gathered, some of the commonest English
weeds in foreign countries without recognizing them, though
they differed in uo respect, even of habit, from those we had
familiar with from childhood, — so deceptive are tine of ,